Mandy: Hey, Kelvin. How have you been? I’ve not seen you at the gym for weeks. Where have you been?
Kelvin: Oh! I’ve put my membership on hold for three months.
Mandy: What happened? You’ve not injured yourself or anything, have you?
Kelvin: Not at all. I got a bit bored of going to the gym, so I’m trying something different to keep fit. Did you think I’ve been lazy sitting on the sofa every evening?
Mandy: Haha! I know you better than that. I’m sure you have been keeping fit. Have you taken up a new sport?
Kelvin: Yes. I’ve taken up free running these days and I really enjoy it. I’m actually thinking of cancelling my gym membership as they have just increased the fees again, and free running costs nothing at all.
Mandy: Hmmm … free running sounds fun but I have no idea what it is. What’s the difference between jogging and free running? Are they the same?
Kelvin: Free running is more than just running. The UK has recently recognised free running as a sport and it’s becoming very popular.
Mandy: I see. How did you know about free running?
Kelvin: I saw a video of two guys running and doing flips and jumps on YouTube by chance, and was impressed by the idea of “expression through motion”. I decided to join a free running group and have been hooked on it since!
Mandy: That sounds cool, but I’m still not sure what free running is. What do you mean by “expression through motion” and what do you do when you’re free running?
Kelvin: Free running involves the runner literally running from one point to another in a straight line, and in the fastest and most direct manner possible, using different movements. It is about moving as efficiently as possible, so rather than running around obstacles, runners overcome them by jumping, flipping or even vaulting. For example, if there is a rubbish bin in front of you, you can choose to leap over or do a cartwheel over it, hence the term “expression through motion”.
Mandy: Oh wow! How many different types of movements are used in free running?
Kelvin: There are no fixed movements in free running because runners need to overcome different situations and their environment. The idea of free running is to develop our mind and body and interact with obstacles in our environment in the most practical and creative manner.
Mandy: What do you mean by interacting with obstacles in the most practical and creative manner?
Kelvin: It’s all about finding the fastest and most effective way to complete the course. Besides tumbling, climbing and vaulting, professional runners also include acrobatic movements and some stunts such as backflips, scaling walls, jumping from one rooftop to another.
Mandy: That sounds dangerous!
Kelvin: It’s safe as long as you stay away from busy streets, choose a route that you’re comfortable with and pay attention to your surroundings. Those who are new to free running should also start at a slow pace and practise running the same route until they have mastered some basic moves to get over simple obstacles.
Mandy: You’ve got me interested in free running. Can I join you the next time you go for a free run?
Kelvin: Of course!